House & Garden | Diary of a Somebody

Rabih Hage

The designer seeks a way to build the unbuildable

Rabih Hage

November 10 2010
Rabih Hage

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

On Tuesday I began the day with a quick meeting with my design team. Following this I took some time to go through our gallery exhibition programme for 2011 with William, our gallery manager and my senior assistant and brain.

We are focusing on four very interesting exhibitions and will be working with some new artists and designers who we really love. I’m very excited by the prospect of these shows. The gallery meeting ended around 1pm and I went for lunch at my “local canteen”, the Bibendum Oyster Bar. I had a great goulash with rice cooked under the instruction of one of the best chefs operating in this area of Chelsea, Matthew Harris. The food, served under the attentive eye of manager Laurence Young, was delicious.

After my solitary lunch, I asked William to join me for a final catch-up over a delicious apple crumble with Jersey cream and coffee. I felt ready for my next meeting with fellow architects Simon and Howard from HUB Architects to discuss the design of an outdoor, glass water feature that we plan to include in a joint project near Regent’s Park. This glass water feature, which no local builder seems to want to build, will have to be outsourced to the right contractors; I am thinking of a German contractor who can build the “unbuildable” (I will keep his name confidential as this is one of my best trade secrets in the London design scene).

Our meeting was nice and quick. Interestingly, there is none of the common friction between the architect and the interior designer in our relationship (I am working on this job as the latter). We had a very good meeting with a positive outcome on all levels. My only disappointment was the wait, out in the cold, for the local mini-cab that would take my assistant-architect Chris and I from this “wonderful and poetic” area of London called Kilburn to Chelsea. The mini-cab was late but polite and knew only how to read his GPS navigator.

I needed to promptly get back into a party mood, pick up my wife and rush to the Hayward Gallery, where the grande dame of the UK fashion and luxury industry, Sue Whiteley, the managing director of Louis Vuitton, was hosting one of their fantastic Art Walks, conducted by the excellent Tim Marlow.

It was a delight. The show that we witnessed at the Hayward Gallery, Choreographing You, curated by Stephanie Rosenthal, is mind-blowing. I have experienced performance art before that was difficult to understand, but this one had a special dimension to it that felt truly accessible. It was an exciting mix of dance, architecture and objects. However, there wasn’t any music, only very little background noise in the “installation” of Pablo Bronstein. The artwork was an architecture classic Arc de Triomphe with a dancer/actor describing it with her soft voice. A group of “flatmates” on another corner of the gallery were having a fight around a giant (very well designed) kind of “coat hanger”. I liked it! I did not try to understand it at first, but thought the expression was unique.

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